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I was getting gas the other day when the guy at the next pump commented off handedly- "you about have to take out a second mortgage to fill up these days."  Now, I know that some of what I do on this very blog may be construed as complaining... but I see what I do as pointing out problems and possible solutions.

This guy was obviously complaining.

In this context, I see what purpose his complaint served.  He was trying to make a social connection via a percieved commonality.  He saw that I, like he, was filling up an SUV.  What he failed to take into account was this: 1) my SUV has a relatively small gas tank and gets relatively good gas mileage, 2) my lack of social skills and general lack of agreability, and 3) my extreme distaste for both complaining and hypocricy. 

I wasn't exactly rude, but I didn't agree with him.  I simply shrugged and said "mine isn't that bad."  Followed by "demand drives up price- we could just drive less."  Pretty sure I lost the guy halfway through the second statement.

This incidence led me to begin thinking about this habit society has of complaining and then doing nothing, or even actively (if not unknowingly) working against what they are complaining about.  That's not very well put.

Take the gas station guy.  There he is, complaining about the cost of gas, but driving an older SUV, one that by my estimate probably got about 12 miles per gallon on a good day.  I get that people now are often stuck with the car they have, fuel efficient or not, because of the economy, and I also think that in a lot of ways driving an old care makes more financial sense than a new, more efficient car.  But SUV's hold their value, and unless he was upside down on his loan he could have easily sold it and bought a Camry or some other older but still fuel efficient car.

Or the people who will, in the same breath, complain about how terrible the roads in their area are and then complain about how they're raising taxes to fix them.

People complain about government spending but use it daily.

They want to deregulate finance but regulate the female reproductive system or the way we treat our kids when they're sick.

They claim we can't grow enough food if we raise it more responsibly, yet only about 15% of the corn grown in this country is actually used for food.

Stop complaining.  Start looking for solutions.

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